Rudolph Pariser Papers
Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Science History Institute Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
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Rudolph Pariser was born in Harbin, China on December 8, 1923. He received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California (1944), and subsequently attended the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry (1950). Shortly after graduating, Pariser began work as a research chemist for DuPont's Jackson Laboratory in Deepwater, New Jersey. One of his first tasks at DuPont was to characterize several of the organic dyes the company was synthesizing for its new synthetic fibers. Pariser felt the best way to understand these dyes was to study their structure/property relationships, and he believed quantum chemistry to be the best way to begin.
In July 1951, Pariser consulted with Robert Parr, also a University of Minnesota alumnus, regarding the application of quantum calculations to determine the electronic spectra of complex dyes. It was during this meeting that they began their collaboration. After much research and experimentation, Pariser and Parr had developed a "semi-empirical theory… designed for the correlation and prediction of the wavelengths and intensities… of complex unsaturated molecules." Their theory became known as the Pariser-Parr-Pople (PPP) method. Theoretical chemist John Pople was simultaneously performing parallel studies to those of Pariser and Parr.
Pariser and Parr first presented their findings on June 9, 1952 at the Symposium on Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy. Their work was well received by the chemical community. Later that year, they wrote a two-paper series entitled "A Semi-Empirical Theory of the Electronic Spectra and Electronic Structure of Complex Unsaturated Molecules," which further outlined their method. These papers, first published by The Journal of Chemical Physics in 1953, became two of the most heavily cited publications in chemistry and physics.
After a few initial applications of the PPP method to complex molecules, Pariser turned his attention to polymer science. He was named Research Supervisor of DuPont's Polymer Division in 1954, and by 1974, he had been named Director of Pioneering Research in the Elastomer Chemicals Department. As director, Pariser oversaw the development of many new elastomer products. In 1980, he was appointed Research Director of the Polymer Products Department. Pariser retired in 1989 after working as Director for Advanced Materials Science for the Central Research and Development Department. However, even after his retirement, he remained active as a consultant in his areas of expertise, and as President of Pariser and Company, Incorporated.
Rudolph Pariser is a member of numerous professional associations, including, but not limited to, the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, and the National Science Foundation.
Rudolph Pariser Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Pariser, Rudolph. "On the Origins of the PPP Method." International Journal of Quantum Chemistry XXXVII (1990): 319-325.
Pariser, Rudolph and Robert G. Parr. "A Semi-Empirical Theory of the Electronic Spectra and Electronic Structure of Complex Unsaturated Molecules. I." Journal of Chemical Physics 21 (1953): 466-471.
The Rudolph Pariser Papers consist of four and a half linear feet of original material pertaining to the Pariser-Parr-Pople method. Pariser's papers offer a glimpse into the development, and subsequent application, of one of the most widely used methods in quantum chemistry. Pariser's later work with polymer science is not included in these archives, nor is there any representation of his personal life. The Rudolph Pariser Papers are an invaluable resource for scholars of quantum chemistry and molecular structure, and they are especially valuable for scholars of the Pariser-Parr-Pople method. The collection is arranged into the following eight series:
- Computer Programming Information
- Meetings and Symposia
- Notes and Data
- Visual Materials
The Rudolph Pariser Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Rudolph Pariser in 2001.
The Rudolph Pariser Papers were processed by Kristin D. Clark in 2002 and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher in 2021.
- American Chemical Society. Delaware Section
- E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company
- International Business Machines Corporation
- Symposium on Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy
- Science History Institute Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- The Rudolph Pariser Papers were processed by Kristin D. Clark in 2002 and encoded into EAD by Samantha Brigher in 2021.
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
There are no access restrictions on the materials.
- Use Restrictions
The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Rudolph Pariser Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
This series contains the Computer Programming Information files of the Rudolph Pariser Papers. Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series consists of five files in Box 1. The files include information on Pariser's work with one of IBM's first modern computers; the 701 Data Processing Machine. Pariser was selected to write a computer program that would apply the PPP method, and thus allow the computer to perform complex computations that could not easily be worked by hand.
This series contains the Correspondence files of the Rudolph Pariser Papers. Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series consists of eleven files in Box 2. The files' contents consist of correspondence regarding the development and implementation of the PPP method. Of particular interest are letters between Pariser and Parr concerning their influential collaboration, and a memo summarizing the first discussion between Pariser and Parr on the issues of quantum chemistry. Numerous requests for information concerning Pariser's theories and calculations also exist within the collection. These requests serve as a testament to the chemical community's deep interest in the PPP method. Finally, this series also includes a subseries of letters written in the late 1980s and early 1990s regarding Pariser's recollections on the initial development of the PPP theory. The contents of the Correspondence files are arranged into the following three sub-series:
- General Correspondence Relating to the PPP Method
- Origins of the PPP Method
- Requests for Reprints
Arranged chronologically by year, this sub-series consists of nine files in Box 2. These files contain general correspondence about the PPP method.
Arranged in its original order, this sub-series consists of one file in Box 2. This file contains correspondence about the origins of the PPP method.
Arranged in its original order, this sub-series consists of one file in Box 2. This file contains a sampling of correspondence requesting reprints.
This series contains the Manuscripts files of the Rudolph Pariser Papers. Arranged in its original order, this series consists of eleven files in Box 3. Though most of these items are reprints or copies, there are a few handwritten items. Reprints of Pariser and Parr's momentous papers "A Semi-Empirical Theory of the Electronic Spectra and Electronic Structure of Complex Unsaturated Molecules: I and II" are present. The first includes papers written by Pariser, while the second includes papers, which were influenced by the PPP method, but were written by other authors. These items have been retained within the collection because they demonstrate the wide applicability of the theory. The contents of the Manuscripts files are arranged into the following two sub-series:
- Written by Rudolph Pariser
- Written by Miscellaneous Authors
Arranged in its original order, this sub-series consists of eight files in Box 3. These files contain papers authored and co-authored by Rudolph Pariser and Robert G. Parr.
Arranged in its original order, this sub-series consists of three files in Box 3. Folders 9-10 contain papers influenced by the PPP method written by miscellaneous authors. Folder 11 contains a chapter of a book by Robert G. Parr.
This series contains the Meetings and Symposia files of the Rudolph Pariser Papers. Arranged chronologically by year, this series consists of twelve files in Box 4. These files contain materials related to various professional meetings that Pariser either attended or at which he presented. The abstracts from the first symposium at which Pariser and Parr presented their findings are also present.
This series contains the Notes and Data Pertaining to PPP Method files of the Rudolph Pariser Papers. Arranged alphabetically by subject, this series consists of twenty-eight boxes in Boxes 5-6. These files contain notes and data pertaining to the development and subsequent application of the PPP method. The majority of this series consists of handwritten notes, calculations, and raw data, much of which is highly technical information pertaining to the molecular orbitals, bond distances, and charge densities of complex molecules. Pariser's application of the PPP method to polyacenes and azulene is well represented in this series. The contents of the Notes and Data files are arranged into the following two sub-series:
- Notes and Data (A-M)
- Notes and Data (N-Z)
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this sub-series consists of seventeen files in Box 5. Files 1-9 contain information about azulenes. Other file topics include benzene, butadiene, calculations of absorption, equilibrium copolymerization, ethylene, heterocyclic molecules, and matrix element programs.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, this sub-series consists of eleven files in Box 6. Files 2-9 contain information about polyacenes. Other file topics include pentadiene and miscellaneous subjects.
This series contains the References files of the Rudolph Pariser Papers. These files contain hundreds of note cards, on which Pariser has inscribed notes pertaining to publications that influenced the development and refinement of the PPP method. Arranged in its original order, this series consists of seven files in Box 7.
This series contains the Visual Materials files of the Rudolph Pariser Papers. Arranged in its original order, this series consists of thirteen files in Boxes 8-10. The bulk of this series contains one hundred-nineteen glass slides that Pariser used to illustrate various presentations on his work. The files include the glass slides shown during the 1952 Symposium on Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy, where Pariser and Parr first presented their collaborative theory. Photographs of Pariser are also included in these files. The contents of the Visual Materials files are arranged into the following two sub-series:
- Photographs and Miscellaneous
- Glass Slides from Presentations
Arranged in its original order, this sub-series consists of four files in Box 8. These files contain volumes II and III of the Dictionary of Values of Molecular Constants, a speech about ethylene given by Robert Parr, and instructions for card punching.
Arranged in its original order, this sub-series consists of nine files in Boxes 9-10. Box 9 contains sixty-three glass slides in Folders 1-5. Box 10 contains fifty-six glass slides in Folders 1-4. These slides were used for presentations given by Rudolph Pariser at conferences and symposiums in the 1950s and 1960s.
This series consists of the addenda to the Rudolph Pariser Papers. Arranged in its original order, this series consists of six files in Box 11. These files contain photographs of the Physical Chemistry Department of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, with identification sheets, Pariser's graduate thesis "A Study of Some Oxidation-Reduction Reactions Photosensitized by Chlorophyll and Related Substances," pheophytin summary graphs, a letter from J. M. Tinker, Director of Jackson Laboratory in Deepwater, New Jersey, an attendee list for the IBM Technical Computing Service 700 Programming Course in 1953, and published materials related to the American Chemical Society Annual Award for the Delaware Section of the organization, with a congratulatory letter from C. H. Greenwalt, President of DuPont.